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From The Musician's Way Blog
The Key Mental Skill of Expert Musicians. “When I sit in Paris in a café, surrounded by people, I don’t sit casually – I go over a certain sonata in my head and discover new things all the time.” -Arthur Rubinstein
The Musician's Way for Studio Classes. Strategies for studio teachers to boost student learning in group classes.
The 3 Components of Deep Practice. Discovery, repetition, evaluation.
Becoming a Confident Performer. “Your central tasks are finding inner peace and strength, on the one hand, and being very well-prepared for your performances, on the other.” -Eric Maisel
Music Teacher Resources
Free resources are available to help music educators optimize online teaching as well as resume in-person instruction amid the pandemic. Among them are the Virtual Learning Resources from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the Resuming Instruction During COVID-19 documents provided by the American String Teachers Association. For independent music teachers, MTNA has posted Legal FAQ for Reopening Music Studios.
Zoom Audio Upgrade
Zoom recently rolled out High-Fidelity Music Mode, "designed to provide professional-grade audio and optimize all kinds of sound and music." To activate it, under audio settings, tick the relevant box. The upgrade request was led by Yale University joined by dozens of other institutions worldwide, including the New World Symphony.
Copyright & Distance Learning
In 2002, the U.S. Congress passed the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act, commonly call the TEACH Act, which clarifies how copyrighted materials can and cannot be used by accredited, non-profit educational institutions for purposes of distance learning. A handy summary from NAfME, Copyright Guidance for Distance Learning, outlines the main points, and their newly posted FAQ sheet adds details. For additional information, see the TEACH Act Toolkit published by the Louisiana State University Library along with resources from the American Library Association.
The pandemic has not only impacted musicians' finances but also compromised many artists' mental health. If you're suffering from depression or other difficulties, seek help. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control publishes Mental Health Tools & Resources as well as a Coping with Stress page listing helplines and tips. To connect with mental health providers, visit Backline. Other resources include SilenceTheShame.com, and, for college/university students and faculty, ULifeline.
For musicians and arts organizations to retain and grow their audiences, new thinking will almost surely be needed, especially when it comes to providing more inclusive programming and engaging diverse people, as Aubrey Bergauer recently articulated on Medium.com. Design Thinking offers us a proven framework to spark, test, and validate ideas, and it's the framework I rely on when I help musicians and arts organizations innovate. For a summary, see my article, Design Thinking for Audience Development.
The Wallace Foundation Blog has posted valuable articles about how the arts and arts education sectors are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, which complement their library of resources on building audiences for the arts.
The Vienna Philharmonic has begun performing again by applying research on the aerosols produced by orchestral instruments, as encapsulated in a recent article in Forbes. Ongoing data about aerosols, along with guidelines for U.S. music educators, are being posted on the website of the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Conductor Alondra de la Parra produced a high-level performance and video of the Danzón No. 2 by Arturo Márquez by uniting musicians who performed at different locations and times. Read more about the "Impossible Orchestra" and view a video on the Deutsche Welle site.
CAMI Shuts Down
In late August, the arts world was saddened to learn that the storied artist management firm Columbia Artists had permanently ceased operations. Opera News published some details coupled with a brief summary of CAMI's history.
Beloved film composer Ennio Morricone passed away in July at age 91. John Zorn penned a moving and informative tribute in The New York Times.
On September 2, The New York Times published an enchanting piece titled, "5 Minutes that Will Make You Love the Violin," in which 16 noted musicians and writers describe and share recordings of beloved compositions featuring the violin.
Women in Music
If you'd like to learn more about the contributions of women composers from ancient times to the present, the independent classical music label Drama Musica provides an array of online material, including an extensive list of names with links. Chamber Music America also publishes a list of women, ALAANA, and gender non-conforming composers as part of their Composer Equity Project.
3 Practice Techniques
By employing three proven techniques during our practice, we deepen our learning and equip ourselves to perform securely under pressure. Learn more in my article, Varied, Distributed and Interleaved Practice.
Top American orchestras count few musicians of color among their ranks, and many arts leaders are questioning whether traditional audition processes are as equitable as they could be. Fresh perspectives on the topic appeared in a September article in The New York Times titled, "Musicians on How to Bring Racial Equity to Auditions."
Orchestras in Crisis
The financial challenges that professional orchestras face right now are exemplified by events at the Pittsburgh Symphony, where more salary cuts, layoffs, and furloughs were announced in early September, as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Arts Ed Budget Cuts
As tax revenues have dropped due to the pandemic, government budgets have contracted in step. In some regions, arts education has been disproportionally cut. Take New York City, for instance: ArtNet.com reports, “New York City’s 2021 budget slashes already modest funding for public-school arts education by 70 percent.”
Perhaps you've heard of the so-called "Black Mozart." If so, let's stop calling him that. His name is Joseph Boulogne, aka Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Searchlight Pictures has announced plans to release a film centered on the 18th-century genius. Learn more about Boulogne's extraordinary life and achievements in a piece by Marcos Balter in The New York Times.
“Your habits in the practice room make you the musician that you are.”
-The Musician's Way, p. 20